February 2019


Discovering surrender


Go Now Missions’ Discovery Weekend challenged students to continually be in complete surrender to the Lord...

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How Discovery Weekend lives up to its name


God calls us to go where we are needed most, where our gifts and passions are strong. It may not be where we expected or planned but God knows that we will do great work there...

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Executive board renews commitment to sexual abuse prevention training for churches


During the February meeting of the Executive Board, members voted to approve the allocation of $100,000 from the J.K. Wadley Endowment Fund to continue providing to churches sexual abuse prevention training and resources through a relationship with MinistrySafe. Executive Director David Hardage addressed the recent reports on sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches...

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MAP Stories: Many come to faith during Ramadan in South Asia


Texas Baptists, Brazil Baptists, and local churches in South Asia are partnering together to support indigenous missionaries in South Asia. ...

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Medical Missions Together: a Father and a Son


What is it like to go to a Caribbean island, not for tourism, but for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? How would you serve? What needs do they have?...

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River Ministry assisting influx of migrants in Piedras Negras


A recent influx of 1,800 Central American migrants into the community of Piedras Negras, Mexico, has caused Texas Baptists River Ministry missionaries to spring into action. ...

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A Time to Mourn, a Time to Repent


Abuse is evil. The Houston Chronicle’s recent series of articles about sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention sheds some light on this pervasive problem in churches.

This is a watershed moment, and it is also an opportunity for Southern Baptists to step up and walk the narrow path of repentance and change.

I am inspired by survivors like Debbie Vasquez and David Pittman, their stories were featured in the article, who courageously share with the world about their traumatic experiences. They speak truth to prevent the same thing from happening to others.

Their stories are heart-wrenching and infuriating, and unfortunately, they are nothing new to the church. I know multiple women and men who were sexually assaulted by church leaders as children. While healing is possible, the trauma of abuse ravages people physically, mentally, and emotionally for years and decades.

This is our opportunity to listen to survivors and mourn together.

Stories like Heather Schneider’s are haunting. Churches have the opportunity to listen to her mom, Gwen Casados, about her abuse and suicide and hear from survivors in our communities. Survivors are everywhere, including our churches. In the broader U.S. culture, one in three women and one in six men have experienced sexual abuse in their lifetime.

We can step up, listen, and learn from survivors; their voices and stories matter the most....

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What should a church do if someone reports sexual abuse?


Sometimes it is hard to acknowledge what we know to be real. Such is the case with sexual abuse that happens in churches or by a church leader or volunteer.

It is real. It is tragic. It is devastating to lives. It is damaging to the cause of Christ.

The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News have partnered in producing a three-part series on sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches. This is not the kind of news any Southern Baptist wants to read, but it is exactly the kind that we must read.

Reporting possible crimes

Any charge of sexual misconduct should be taken seriously. If it involves possible criminal activity, law enforcement should be immediately contacted. Keeping it quiet within the church is not a option.

If we think a store has been broken into, we call the police. If we think money has been embezzled, we contact authorities. If there is any indication a sexual assault has been committed, a church needs to report it.

The wise approach to any instance of alleged sexual abuse or assault is to call the police, says Kathryn Freeman, the Christian Life Commission’s director of public policy. Reporting such crimes is also the law in Texas....

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Experiencing humility while serving others in Haiti


It was encouraging to know that God is there working in people’s hearts...

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Statement regarding report on sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches


We are grieved by the instances of sexual abuse detailed in today’s report, and our highest priority is to provide support to victims and survivors across our Texas Baptist family...

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Building relationships in Tacoma


I had the honor of doing mission work in Tacoma, WA. We were able to work with Discovery Church. It was such an amazing experience because there were many opportunities to share about Christ everywhere we went...

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Answering the call – Amarillo ministry provides resources for fostering families


By Abby Hopkins

A young, single woman decided last year to answer a calling on her heart she felt since a young age. She decided to become a foster parent. This “yes” brought four placements and many struggles over the course of eight short months. To ease the stresses and anxieties, Fostering Hope in Amarillo provided for Shelby’s needs.

Fostering Hope is a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering supported ministry that seeks to serve children, families, and foster care agencies by supporting and equipping them to better adjust to new placements and fostering hardships.

“Hunger Offering funds help meet the basic needs of the children who have been taken from their homes and the families who have been enlisted to provide for them,” said Trevor Brown, associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Amarillo. Fostering Hope is a ministry of First Baptist.

The church hosted a lunch more than three years ago with the purpose of engaging those who may be interested in foster care and adoption. David and Sydney Rieff, members of the church, felt a call to partner in the work, not through fostering themselves, but by equipping those who do. They launched Fostering Hope for this purpose.

When an agency goes out to place a child with a foster family, Brown said it usually happens quickly and unexpectedly, and the families are not always equipped. Fostering Hope’s Care Closet has everything the family may need, including furniture, clothes, toys, diapers, and more....

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Pastors see importance of discipleship in dealing with social issues


A new Barna report shows that pastors “place a premium on discipleship when it comes to social issues.”

At this point, I have read only a sample of their findings, not the full report, but I wanted Texas Baptists to be aware of it. “Faith Leadership in a Divided Culture” includes these details:

Nine in 10 pastors (90%) say it is a major part of their role to help Christians have biblical beliefs about specific social issues. Just under three-quarters (72%) say helping Christians think well about culture in general is a major part of their job.

Pastors believe they can make a real difference when it comes to developing this kind of cultural discernment. More than nine in 10 believe they have influence with their congregants when it comes to how they think about current issues in society (31% say “a lot” of influence, 60% “some” influence). Most leaders express optimism that their congregants are prepared for a divided culture—a majority of pastors says their congregants are somewhat (55%) or very (7%) well-equipped to have conversations on sensitive topics.

We can be thankful most pastors say it is a “major part” of their work to help believers develop a biblically informed view of social issues. Also, most see themselves having at least “some” influence on how church members think about current issues.

I’m not as confident as the pastors who say their congregants are well-equipped to have conversations on sensitive cultural topics....

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Encouraged by pro-life events in D.C. and Austin


Two events on two successive weekends have encouraged me. In mid-January, I witnessed busloads of people streaming into Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life. One week later, I listened to thousands of people cheer during Austin’s Rally for Life.

Both events attracted large numbers of students and young adults. There’s an enormous concern evidenced by the thousands of students lifting up the importance and value of life.

A message can be gleaned from this -- pro-life supporters are not going away. And more and more pro-lifers understand that it is not just about abortion; we want to promote the value of human life from conception to natural death.

Children before birth are among the most vulnerable among us, but many women who are carrying these children are in vulnerable positions, as well. We need broad cultural understanding, support systems, and legal frameworks within which we promote the health of all children and their mothers.

In speaking at the Austin event, I noted that Texas Baptists believe every person is created in the image of God and, therefore, deserves our respect and honor from conception.

After reading Psalms 139:13-16 in both English and Spanish, I called for all Texans to work together in . . ...

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Surrounded by love and hope in Jamaica


Standing in the midst of the Harmons, Jamaica, I felt as though I was surrounded...

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